the iPad and Marketing

the iPad: child's playI picked up my iPhone this morning and thought “it’s just about perfect, except it could be bigger…”

I guess I’m not alone – it seems the good folks over at Cupertino have been on the same thought. And, as regulars on this blog will know, I’ve been a consumer of ebooks on my iphone for a long time.

There’s been a lot of discussion in the media about how the iPad may help publishers embrace the digital era – especially this excellent post over at Gizmodo, which identifies that Apple are trying to do what they did with the iPod: not haggle about the early adopter audience who’ve already bought a Creative JukeBox (or Kindle in this case) but rather reach the rest of the world. Those regular consumers who just like great kit that works.

The impact on marketing is huge. The transition of apps from the iPhone to the iPad will be an enormous opportunity for marketers who’ve succeeded in engaging their customers to the extent of committing to a download. This might be content driven – or commerce driven – or other ‘marketing as a service’ approaches. And yes, I’m look at you, fashion retailers, banks and other service providers.

My colleagues at my new employer, Lyris, are working on an app for a fashion retailer that already looks great on the iPhone. If the high net worth customers of this brand do, as I suspect they will, end up with iPads to do their surfing, they are almost certain to use it to do their online fashion shopping.

Are you ready for that?

All a-twitter

the price of success

the price of success

I’ve been twittering on and off for a while now – trying to figure out how it fits in with all my other activities – and gradually finding it more and more interesting over time. Already this year, the buzz around the microblogging service has kicked up several gears: Stephen Fry’s often witty stream-of-consciousness has been a highlight, but I’ve been gradually seeing more and more of my friends and business contacts using it.

Links back and forth with blogs (alerting to updates), Facebook, various IM and LinkedIn status messages seem to have potential.

One of my LinkedIn connections has been using his status to advise media sales people when he is in ‘buy’ mode – I’m curious to learn how this will impact the quality of his media buys.

Twitter has also gained considerably attention in mainstream media this month: suddenly DJs on Radio 1 are talking about it incessantly.

So perhaps it is unsurprising that  @gordonm‘s tweet yesterday about Twitters desire to monetise their service by charging businesses for using the service in a commercial fashion was essentially a link back to the Brand Republic site.

I don’t know how many followers @gordonm has at the moment, but the suggestion of how effective this can be found in @stephenfry’s history, where his mere mention of a site can bring their servers to a standstill. Mr Fry has over 150,000 followers today.

So how long before Twitter becomes part of the marketing landscape? And how will they develop sufficient revenues so that they can improve their up-time (Twitter.com is down as I write this)?

One interesting example: on Monday my flight from Heathrow was delayed by 2 hours. I tweeted “Desperate rush to h’row this morning was futile: flight delayed 2 hrs +. Grrr.”  This from my iPhone.

Almost at once I had a response from Boarding! inviting me to post details of airport to them to meet up with other stranded travellers.

It’s going to be an interesting one to watch: can Twitter do what other social networks are struggling to do and crack the social networking revenue stream conundrum? My guess is there’s a way to make it work via mobile perhaps. AFullerView evidently has some ideas as well.

Anyone else?

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3.2

Why Apple keep winning

Since my last post, two key things that combine to lead to this post:

  • I bought an iPhone (perhaps not earth-shattering news)
  • I’ve been travelling an indecent amount

And guess what? I found myself using the internet en route far more than is normal, even for me. I found myself playing some time-eating games, listening to some music, keeping up with my emails, talking to friends, family and business contacts… all far more than even I did on my previous (extensive) roster of smartphones, PDA’s and laptops.

Apple just have a knack with usability that other manufacturers are miles off matching. I used to like the ability to surf the web on the move – now, for the first time, it’s actually a pleasure to do so.

I’ve always argued that Apple are the best in the business for their marketing and ability to create a ‘wow-factor’. But also that they are rarely actually the best machines (and almost never the best-priced equipment). I think the iPhone ticks all the boxes (well, except best-priced).

Guess I just joined the herd.

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3.2

Customer lifetime value

Bye Bye Voda?

Bye Bye Voda?

Maybe I’m just becoming (an even grumpier) grumpy old man, but one of the things I’ve noticed as we’ve talked ourselves into recession is a steep decline in customer service.

Why is this? Some thoughts:

  • as companies are becoming stressed about their future, they are giving less thought to ensuring their customers feel valued
  • as staff feel their jobs are less secure, their discontent shows in the way they handle all types of customer interaction
  • as I spend my money as a customer, I feel companies (and their staff) should be more grateful that I’m still spending

I don’t have any hard data to back this up, but I can relate something anecdotally.

Vodafone, my mobile service provider, have been a company I’ve unhesitatingly recommended to friends and family. I know of a few people who’ve switched to them on the basis of my enthusiastic endorsement of their customer service.

As well as my mobile phone account (with very healthy ARPU) I also bought a mobile broadband connection – which I’ve subsequently passed on to a colleague who is using it (and paying for it) in my place. We couldn’t do this formally as he is an ex-pat american, and has no credit history here. So far so good.

Except that last week Vodafone suspended my mobile phone. Why? Because the payment for the mobile broadband was overdue… by TWO DAYS. No warning, just frustration as a result of a very modest oversight.

I suspect their reaction would have been more in proportion had this happened a few months ago. But, with my contract just two months from renewal date, I feel the other networks beckoning.

I’ve seen this type of corporate response in various ways over the past few weeks (though not as dramatic) from larger companies.

Interestingly, the smaller businesses I deal with (personally and professionally) seem to be a very different story – and I believe this is an opportunity smaller businesses can seize – to show customers what great service really is, and win market share on the back of it.

Here’s hoping.

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3.2

Gadget envy

Samsung mobile unfolds widescreen – watch the vid!

Sandlines, you will not be surprised to hear, likes his gadgets. Always has.

So although I can probably muster a nominal link to a marketing discussion in here somewhere, you’ll know me well enough by now to realise I just wanted to post this link. This is one seriously cool looking development: a folding screen to expand the viewing area in a handy sized mobile.

Those guys over at Samsung are on some wicked coffee overdose.

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3.2

Location goes mainstream

I’ve posted before about better pin-pointing of location from devices on the move – and it’s a subject that has long been close to my heart. But thanks to AdViking to drawing my attention to Greg Sterling’s post last week about the inclusion of Geo-tagging in Windows 7.

It’s a natural development from Geode’s firefox plug in – and will further refine the capabilities of tools like Feedjit I noted before.

But this really is going to be an interesting one to watch on the privacy boards: if your operating system will be able to pinpoint your (fairly) precise location – and you’re on, say, a corporate network – then the implications for employers (for example) to check up on all kinds of things gets much more potent.

Now, let’s put this together with some of the commentary last week on Google’s decision to use searches related to ‘flu’ to identify areas where epidemics might arise. One of the more interesting responses came from The Register:

“The problem, (Marc) Rotenberg says, is that data aggregation calls attention to specific data stored on Google’s servers, making it that much more vulnerable to, say, a subpoena or a national security letter. “Let’s say that instead of Flu Trends, Google’s doing SARS Trends – tracking a very serious communicable disease,” he explains. “If there’s a big SARS upsurge somewhere, the government would be at Google’s door asking where did that data come from.” “

So this goes a step further: it’s not just about what you type into Google, I wonder if this could lead to any information on your computer being fed back to the authorities and then triangulated back to a pretty accurate location. What will the privacy/amnesty international take on that be? I watch with interest…

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2.5

Yell Mobile app: 21st century beckons

Handy?

Handy?

Seems like the nice folks over at Yell have flipped into the 21st Century, having dropped the door-drops like a soggy slab of toast. I haven’t tried this out yet, but I will.

I’m a fan of the Google Maps mobile app, which replaces the (paid for) apps I used to have on my WinMo and Palm OS devices in the past, complete with the benefit of ‘current location’ from the mobile network. I appreciate GPS may be ‘better’, but in London this is quite sufficient… as it was in Brighton recently.

The Yell app will have to be pretty good to better that… though I do see ample places where it could be improved, I’m unconvinced that either Yell or Google will make those improvements any time soon… but I’d love to hear thoughts from anyone else who’s used either/both?

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2.5

Make mine an iPint

even wetter than the real thing?

even wetter than the real thing?

As the sun passes the yard arm and my thoughts (already?) start turning to what I might be consuming down the pub this evening, I was entertained to read that the iPint app on the iPhone (developed by a UK agency to promote Carling’s particular brew) is now the subject of a lawsuit from the US developers of a notably similar looking app called, er, iBeer.

I’ve never really seen why someone would pay $2.99 to get iBeer, personally, but I loved the creativity involved in Carling’s use of a similar looking but functionally different (yes, apparently, that’s the truth) app as one of the first ‘advertising’ uses of an iPhone app. A simply great piece of engagement marketing.

I wonder how much extra mileage all parties will get out of any ensuing PR coverage?

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2.5

I didn’t realise the google phone was THAT heavy

I noticed a review last night of the T-Mobile G1, the first Google Android phone, in online magazine iGIZMO. I was alarmed when clicking on the ‘details’ icon (the little red “i” bottom left) to learn that the G1 is even more hefty that at first I’d thought… according to the reviewer it weighs 1.58kg. Makes my old XDA Exec look positively lean and mean.

Shurely shome mishtake?

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2.5

Nokia “Comes With Music” but not a network…

... just not direct to a mobile network

... just not direct to a mobile network

So Nokia has failed to persuade the mobile networks to stock it’s “Comes With Music” phones, notably the

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2.5